De Smith opens door for two huge deals with NFL


Thursday night’s 90-minute edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN included a visit to the set at Gillette Stadium from NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.

And Smith made a little news.

I shifted into deal-making mode early in the interview, asking Smith if a swap of the ability to suspend players for failing to cooperate with NFL investigations for neutral arbitration of player disciplinary issues would work for the players. Smith seemed to think it would.

“That’s a possible deal,” Smith said. “We believe that every player, just like every employee, has a duty to reasonably cooperate with an investigation. If that’s something that wants to come out of the league office, and they think that’s good grounds for us to make a deal, then I’ll come back and shake your hand on live TV if we get it done.”

I decided to let the conciliation vibe ride, asking Smith whether a swap of two preseason games for 18 regular-season games would be doable, if roster sizes increased along with the expanded slate of games that count. Smith didn’t rule it out.

“It would depend on the total package,” Smith said. “When we went through this a few years ago, the league was open to increasing the rosters by one roster spot. That’s not enough. I think we would have to look at bye weeks. We would have to look at maybe restructuring the offseason. Some of the teams really like the idea of having a longer period off, and then a longer ramp-up period where guys ease into training camp. We would be interested in looking at the data on injuries during the last few games of the year. Because no matter what we do, any games that you add are going to be games that come at the end of the season where our guys are most beat up. When it comes to a health and safety standpoint, that’s what I care about and that’s what our player leadership cares about.”

It’s a far cry from “no way, no how.” And it opens the door for meaningful progress to be made on two major issues pending between management and labor, if both sides are willing to be reasonable.

24 responses to “De Smith opens door for two huge deals with NFL

  1. The NFL trades discipline for the PA conceding extra practise days… EVERYBODY WINS… Especially the fan because the game gets better.

  2. Every time that two sides agree to a deal, it’s because everybody believes they win. The goal should be to do as many of them as possible until no more wins can be discovered or invented.

  3. If he hadn’t pushed the players into this crappy deal to begin with, this wouldn’t be a problem now.

  4. Demaurice Smith is a horrible negotiator and the NFL owners are laughing all the way to the bank. While Smith fights for the rights of loser players that fail drug tests and get arrested for violence, the owners are taking a huge percentage of the revenues. If I was a player, I would want my representation to get me more money and not be so concerned about the Ray Rices, Josh Gordons, or Greg Hardys.

  5. It’ll take a few years, but pretty soon the inmates will be running the asylum. Hopefully it won’t get as bad as MLB.
    And all because Brady wouldn’t cop to deflating a few footballs.

  6. I don’t understand why a 18 game schedule, doesn’t revert to 1993 style scheduling. 2 bye weeks for all. It’s a win for the players and a win for the owners with the extra TV money, the owners just don’t get 2 extra home dates.

  7. Funny how the narrative turns when a guy like De Smith comes onto the show.

    Just because he currently looks better than Goddell (which isn’t hard at the moment) doesn’t mean he’s any “smarter” or in tune when he lead the players down an ill fated strike path.

    If Goddell agreed to come on, a lot of the chatter/passive aggressive pot shots (warranted or not) would slowly disappear from the writers as well.

  8. I’ve been saying this in your comments section for weeks, thanks for asking de, I really think this is goodell’s end game in all this mess. There’s no legitimate reason he wants the power, it’s just a bargaining chip.

  9. Years ago, I thought De Smith was incompetent. Now, he and the NFLPA have the NFL by the cojones, and I now think the NFL is the incompetent one.


    Really? Because the way I see it, the head of the NFLPA just kinda sorta handed the NFL the opportunity to expand the schedule to 18 games. And all the NFL has to do is add maybe three guys at the end of each roster making the league minimum? Sounds like a big win for the shield to me.

  10. whatjusthapped says:

    18 games is the worst idea of all, no matter the money, no matter the roster size. Keep it at 16 games, it is what makes the NFL so special.

    If you think the number of games is the defining factor in what makes football so special, then you don’t really understand football.

  11. More games does not equal a better product. Starters would love to play just 2 games but what about fringe players? The preseason is boring but it is needed. If the coaches didn’t find it valuable, the coaches would pull starters from a couple of the games or let coordinators call the game.

  12. Please, please, please, do not move to 18 games. One of the reasons that I love football and one of the reasons I find sports like basketball and baseball so boring is because when you have fewer games the games matter so much more, and when you have a ton the results of any given game are virtually irrelevant.

    The more games you add, the more you dilute the product. The same goes for adding more teams to the playoffs. One of the reasons I watch pretty much every single televised NFL game of the season is because they’re all important. Add a few more weeks and you’re giving me more reason to think that the games don’t matter that much and there are other things I could be doing with my time.

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